In 2008, the Macerata Opera Festival launched an ambitious and unique accessibility project with the aim of providing its audience with a wide range of free access services. These services do not only make the opera experience but also the theatre itself, with its backstage areas, accessible to the widest possible audience, including those with special needs. Since 2008, all opera performances are audio described for blind or partially sighted people. In addition, the theatre opens its doors to the audience before all audio-described evening performances with fully guided tactile tours.
Since 2009, surtitles, are projected onto the big wall of the Arena Sferisterio, during all opera performances so that not only people with a hearing impairment but also the whole audience, can easily follow the librettos.
Since 2016, in partnership with Museo Tattile Statale Omero (Ancona) and Unione Italiana Ciechi e Ipovedenti (Marche region), we organise the Sentieri di Arte e Musica tour for blind and partially sighted audience members, a tour throughout the Marche region and its natural gems. More information can be found on the Museo Tattile Statale Omero website.
Since 2017, two new worthy additions: the translated English version of the surtitles will be supplied for all opera performances and, in partnership with Ente Nazionale Sordi Macerata (Macerata Association for Deaf people), a sign-language-interpreted tour will guide the hearing impaired through the theatre, the stage, and its backstage areas. The tour also allows visitors to touch and play some of the instruments which will be used in the opera performance.
In 2017, the Macerata Opera Festival welcomed more than 250 blind, partially sighted, deaf, and hearing-impaired audience members from all over Italy.
For the current opera season, the new Sennheiser’s MobileConnect technology by Sennheiser Streaming Technologies, an industry leader in the field of audio devices, allows users to optimise not only the volume of the received audio signal but also intelligibility and sound quality in order to suit individual hearing needs.
Coordinator: Elena Di Giovanni
Audio descriptions and tours: Francesca Raffi
Accessibility services and reception: Chiara Pazzelli
Sign-language interpreter: Consuelo Agnesi
ITALIAN AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS
Unione Italiana Ciechi e Ipovedenti (Macerata, Italy); Museo Statale Tattile Omero (Ancona, Italy); Ente Nazionale Sordi (Macerata, Italy); Università degli Studi di Macerata (Macerata, Italy); Montclair State University (New Jersey, USA).